Gov. Paterson's State of the State address started strong but quickly bogged down in incoherence. That was an improvement over Senate leader John Sampson, who gave a press conference with a non-working microphone in the Senate lobby which was inaudible over the throngs of people talking among themselves.
Then came Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver. He noted that former Lobbying Commission director David Grandeau has supported the Assembly's ethics reform proposals (that is a good guy to have on your side). He cast doubt on the unitary nature of the governor's proposed ethics commission, citing the "constitutional separation of powers." Silver said he expects to announce soon a joint Assembly-Senate ethics bill.
Silver was asked about an item in the governor's new comprehensive ethics reform proposal which would require lawyers like him to reveal their private clients. The speaker said he couldn't comment because he hadn't seen the bill, and started to move away to close the news conference. Then I asked him, since an ethics bill passed by the Assembly last year would require legislators to reveal the approximate amounts of their private-sector income, whether he'd be prepared to disclose approximately how much he made last year from his private law practice. He responded that he already discloses more than he has to, which meant no. In his reply, Silver also indicated he would oppose requiring lawyer-legislators to disclose their clients. Sampson, who also has a private law practice, last year opposed requiring disclosure of clients.